Eloise’s September 2020 News – Back to school, back to the office, dealing with change and resilience

Vanilla Recruitment Back to the Office

Welcome to September

Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of the Summer holidays and the start of a new academic year. It’s been a really weird year so far and I can’t imagine how it feels for many of the children (and teachers) getting back into the classroom for the first time since March! My two children started in their new ‘big’ school at the end of August, and they were very excited but still a little apprehensive. But, I am very pleased and relieved that everything has gone smoothly so far and the transition into year 7 and a brand new school is going fine (although the increase in homework is not going down that well 🙂 )

It really does feel like a new stage of development in the whole Covid-19 saga at the moment, with the nation’s kids being back in school freeing up those parents who can now get back into the workplace. Many employees remain working from home, but many others are starting to make that (difficult) transition back into the office. I’m speaking to so many people recently that have not been into an office environment for over six months! If this is something that affects you then we have a few blog posts on our site that may help:

It’s still too early to tell what impact this will all have on the job market in the immediate future. I feel we are all hopeful that the return to a semblance of normality will give the overall economy a boost which in turn will help all businesses in the UK. I think we all need a bit of stability and a return to a life that may not be the same as the old ‘normal’ but is close enough to allow businesses to get back on their feet which will undoubtedly keep more people in jobs.

Unfortunately, the threat of redundancies is still very real. The end of the furlough scheme in October, which the government shows no signs of extending is a real concern for many businesses and of course many more employees. Remember we are always here to chat, advise and guide where we can in an attempt to help you through these troubling times.

As always I’ll keep you updated with any changes and developments in the employment market. We are seeing some signs of recovery and confidence in certain sectors, but it’s still a tough market and we’re doing all we can to help clients, candidates, businesses and job seekers in any way we can.

Here’s a little round up of some useful content and links that I hope you’ll find useful…

Looking for positives amidst the pandemic

Our very own Caitlin has written a fantastic blog post about looking for positives amidst the pandemic. Here’s a little intro and I’d recommend taking a few minutes when you can and reading Caitlin’s view on 2020 so far.

“Here at Vanilla Recruitment we have a weekly tradition of listing the things we are ‘happy and grateful’ for, every Monday, in order to start the week off in good stead.

For me personally, I find it is a fantastic way of ‘counting your blessings’ – focusing on the good things going on in your life, which in turn deflects the focus away from any negative emotions you may be feeling.

This gave me an idea to write a blog which focuses on the positive outcomes that we can all take from 2020, to help anyone who is feeling those aforementioned, negative emotions –  with the aim to focus instead on the good things going on, and how we can all learn and grow from this pandemic, in various aspects of our day-to-day lives.”

You can read Caitlin’s full blog post here.

How to Get Better at Dealing with Change

I came across a really useful article recently, which although written several years ago has really helped me understand and deal with the very recent changes that are happening around us. Change is an unavoidable constant in our work lives. Sometimes it’s within our control, but most often it’s not. Our jobs or roles change — and not always for the better. The companies we work for undergo reorganisation and revamp their strategies, and we need to adjust.

Fortunately, there are ways to adapt to change, and even to take advantage of it.

  1. Find the humor in the situation. Trying to find a funny moment during an otherwise unfunny situation can be a fantastic way to create the levity needed to see a vexing problem from a new perspective. It can help others feel better as well. Witty banter, or “affiliative humor,” can lighten the mood and improve social interaction. Just make sure it’s inclusive and respectful. A good rule of thumb is that other people’s strife is no laughing matter, but your own struggles can be a source of comedic gold.
  2. Talk about problems more than feelings. One of the most common myths of coping with unwanted changes is the idea that we can “work through” our anger, fears, and frustrations by talking about them a lot. This isn’t always the case. In fact, research shows that actively and repeatedly broadcasting negative emotions hinders our natural adaptation processes. That’s not to say you should just “suck it up” or ignore your troubles. Instead, call out your anxiety or your anger at the outset of a disorienting change so that you are aware of how it might distort your thinking or disrupt your relationships. Then look for practical advice about what to do next. By doing so, you’ll zero in on the problems you can solve, instead of lamenting the ones you can’t.
  3. Don’t stress out about stressing out. Our beliefs about stress matter. Your reaction to stress has a greater impact on your health and success than the stress itself. If you believe stress kills you, it will. If you believe stress is trying to carry you over a big obstacle or through a challenging situation, you’ll become more resilient and may even live longer. When you start to feel stressed, ask yourself what your stress is trying to help you accomplish. Is stress trying to help you excel at an important task, like a sales presentation or a big interview? Is it trying to help you endure a period of tough market conditions or a temporary shift in your organisational structure? Is it trying to help you empathise with a colleague or a customer? Or is stress to trying to help you successfully exit a toxic situation? Stress can be a good thing — if you choose to see it that way.
  4. Focus on your values instead of your fears. Reminding ourselves of what’s important to us — family, friends, religious convictions, scientific achievement, great music, creative expression, and so on — can create a surprisingly powerful buffer against whatever troubles may be ailing us. Studies have shown how people of all ages in a range of circumstances, from new schools and new relationships to new jobs, can strengthen their minds with a simple exercise: spending 10 minutes writing about a time when a particular value you hold has positively affected you. The technique works because reflecting on a personal value helps us rise above the immediate threat, and makes us realise that our personal identity can’t be compromised by one challenging situation.
  5. Accept the past, but fight for the future. Even though we are never free from change, we are always free to decide how we respond to it. Viktor Frankl championed this idea after returning home from three horrific years in Nazi death camps. He discovered that his mother, brother, wife, and unborn child were all dead. Everything in his life had changed. All that he loved was lost. But as fall became winter and winter gave way to spring, Frankl began to discover that even though he could never go back to the life he once had, he was still free to meet new friends, find new love, become a father again, work with new patients, enjoy music, and read books. Frankl called his hope in the face of despair “tragic optimism.”Frankl’s story is an extreme example, of course, but that’s all the more reason why we should find inspiration from it. If we fixate on the limitations of a specific change, we inevitably succumb to worry, bitterness, and despair. Instead, we should choose to accept the fact that change happens, and employ our freedom to decide what to do next.
  6. Don’t expect stability. In the late 1970s a researcher at the University of Chicago named Salvatore Maddi began studying employees at Illinois Bell. Soon after, the phone industry was deregulated, and the company had to undergo a lot of changes. Some managers had trouble coping. Others thrived. What separated the two groups? The adaptive leaders chose to view all changes, whether wanted or unwanted, as an expected part of the human experience, rather than as a tragic anomaly that victimises unlucky people. Instead of feeling personally attacked by ignorant leaders, evil lawmakers, or an unfair universe, they remained engaged in their work and spotted opportunities to fix long-standing problems with customer service and to tweak antiquated pricing structures.In contrast, Maddi found that the struggling leaders were consumed by thoughts of “the good old days.” They spent their energy trying to figure out why their luck had suddenly turned sour. They tried to bounce back to a time and a place that no longer existed.

Although each of these six techniques requires different skills to pull off — and you’ll probably gravitate toward some more than others — there’s one thing that you must do if you want to be more successful at dealing with change: accept it.

Resilience – The key to recovering physically, mentally and emotionally from life’s challenges.

Usually, when we think of resilience, we automatically think of it in terms of mental strength, guts, grit, and gumption. However, there’s so much more to it than that. Resilience is hugely important, from a mental health perspective of course, but physical and emotional resilience are also crucial to our overall wellbeing.

In one of our recent blog posts we looked at what constitutes holistic resilience and shared some easy and practical steps you can take to boost your own resilience – mentally, physically and emotionally.

You can read the full blog post here, which discusses these practical steps in greater detail and I very much recommend that you take a few minutes to read the fantastic advice in the post. As a quick synopsis, here is a list from the post:

How to get the bounce-back factor

  • Reclaim your grit
  • Develop your resilience
  • Nurture relationships
  • Develop mindfulness
  • Nurture physical resilience
  • Keep hydrated
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Seek help

Getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience and remember that you are not alone on this journey. To read the blog post in full click here.

Fab Facebook groups – HR Huddle and Business Growth Community

With the success of the virtual HRHuddle events, we started a Facebook group. The group has been extremely useful and a tremendous resource that continues to really help with advice, content, and peer to peer learning within HR. Due to the success of that HRHuddle group we started a brand new Facebook group called ‘Business Growth Community’.

The Business Growth Community aims to bring together talented business leaders and business owners from across the East Midlands, to learn, to support each other, to encourage business growth and success. As Business Leaders, we face many common challenges. It can be reassuring to know that we are all here to support each other – especially if you’re in a standalone leadership role.

If you’d like to join the Business Growth Community (Leicestershire & Northamptonshire) Facebook group please visit:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/vrbusinessgrowthcommunity (Please note this is a closed group, and not accessible to the public.)

If you’d like to join the HRHuddle or Facebook group please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HRHuddle (Please note this is a closed group, and not accessible to the public. It is only open to HR professionals)

That’s all from me for this month.

I hope you’re feeling some positivity even though the Summer is over and the short, cold, and wet days seem to be on their way. I’ll be back in touch again next month, but we remember to regularly check our social media to see links to our latest news, posts, pics and jobs listings (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter). Until then, remember that we are here for you now and in the future and I hope you have a safe and healthy September.

Best wishes


We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office